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life sciences Accomplishments

Jun 4, 2018
Kai-Yu Ho (Physical Therapy) and David Lee (Life Sciences) received a Faculty Opportunity Award in the collaborative interdisciplinary research category for their study “Knee Pain, Tendon Degeneration, and Limb-Socket Dynamics in Trans-Tibial Amputees.” Their work seeks to understand how below-the-knee prosthetic sockets influence the transmission of loads and the deformation of tissues in the residual limb during walking, and then relate the parameters to patellar tendon morphology and clinical measures of knee joint function and pain.

Apr 19, 2018
Nora Caberoy (Life Sciences) and Francisco Sy (Community Health Sciences) gave their research presentations at the 38th Philippine American Academy of Science and Engineering Annual Meeting and Symposium public health session at the University of Arizona earlier this month. Caberoy presented her research "Lessons from the Eye: Can We Redirect the Cellular Eating Process to Prevent Alzheimer's Disease?" Dr. Sy presented " An Assessment of Filipino American Health in the Greater Las Vegas Area: A Pilot Study".  

Apr 18, 2018
Andrea Darby (Life Sciences) recently won first prize in the Science Slam competition at the 59th Annual Drosophila Research Conference in Philadelphia. The title of her spoken word piece was "Pet Project." She is an undergraduate student in her senior year.

Apr 17, 2018
Boo Shan Tseng and Sophia Araujo Hernandez (both Life Sciences), as well as collaborators at the University of Washington and the University of Calgary, published a research article, "A Biofilm Matrix-Associated Protease Inhibitor Protects Pseudomonas Aeruginosa from Proteolytic Attack", in the high-impact journal mBio. The work shows that when bacteria grow in communities called biofilms, the material holding the bacteria together retains a specific extracellular protein. This protein protects the biofilm bacteria from a bactericidal enzyme that is commonly produced by the immune system during infection, representing yet another way biofilm bacteria, which are a common cause of chronic and hospital-acquired infections, can increase their tolerance against the immune response. Hernandez is one of Tseng's undergraduate students.

Apr 6, 2018
Kelly Ai-Sun Tseng (Life Sciences) was awarded a $224,250 grant from the Nevada INBRE: IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence funded by the National Institutes of Health. Her research project "Building a Molecular Blueprint for Productive Eye Repair" aims to identify genes and signals that induce eye regeneration. Research studies in the Tseng lab seek to identify the mechanisms that enable animals to regrow organs and tissues with the goal of applying this knowledge toward developing regenerative therapeutics. Their recent publication was featured on Xenbase, the international research community resource for Xenopus research funded by the National Institutes of Health.  

Apr 4, 2018
Helen Wing (Life Sciences) and a group that included 16 members of her research team (seven undergraduate students, six graduate students, two technicians and one post-doctoral fellow) published a paper, "Insights into Transcriptional Silencing and Anti‐Silencing in Shigella flexneri: a Detailed Molecular Analysis of the icsP Virulence Locus," in the journal Molecular Microbiology.  Often virulence genes in bacterial pathogens are controlled by sets of DNA binding proteins that antagonize each other; one set of proteins silences the gene, while the other functions to remove the silencer. In bacteria, DNA binding sites for these regulatory proteins are usually found close to the genes they regulate. Their work shows that key elements needed for the control of a virulence gene in the human pathogen Shigella are found in remote locations, which is surprising. The study highlights the flexibility of the regulatory elements’ positions with respect to each other, but also demonstrates that if another protein is engineered to bind between the key regulators, the antagonism is blocked. The implications for understanding these commonly found regulatory mechanisms in bacteria are discussed in this paper.  

Mar 26, 2018
Mira Han (Life Sciences) was awarded a National Science Foundation Career Award for her research project, “Using Indel Rate Variation to Understand Evolutionary Constraints on Distances Between Functional Elements in the Genome.” Han will use the five-year, $574,068 award to study how insertion and deletion mutations impact the evolution of distances between functional elements, such as transcription factor binding sites in the genome. These prestigious awards are given to “faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.”   

Mar 23, 2018
Jenifer Utz (Life Sciences) gave a research presentation entitled, "Voluntary Self-Assessment Quiz Use Improves Exam Performance, Especially for Learners with Low Prior Knowledge" at the Intermountain Teaching for Learning Conference. This research was a collaborative project with Matt Bernacki (Educational Psychology and Higher Education).

Mar 20, 2018
Scott Abella (Life Sciences) has partnered with University Libraries to showcase his research on conservation in America's national parks system in the digital exhibit space in the Leisure Reading Zone on the second floor of Lied Library. "Conserving America's National Parks" pulls images and information from Abella's 2015 book of the same name, examining the status of conservation challenges and successes in America’s 408 national parks from 1916-2016. Each screen in this digital gallery explores different themes, images, and illustrations from Abella’s book, as well as images of the National Parks from his private collection. The digital exhibit will be on display in Lied Library through the spring 2018 semester.  

Mar 14, 2018
Lawrence Walker and Fred Landau (both School of Life Sciences) recently published a book,  A Natural History of the Mojave Desert. In it, the authors explore how a combination of complex geology, varied geography, and changing climate has given rise to intriguing flora and fauna — including almost 3,000 plant species and about 380 terrestrial vertebrate animal species. Of these, one quarter of the plants and one sixth of the animals are endemic. Walker and Landau, who, combined, have spent more than six decades living in and observing the Mojave Desert, offer a scientifically insightful and personally observed understanding of the desert. They invite readers to understand how the Mojave Desert looks, sounds, feels, tastes, and smells. They prompt us to understand how humans have lived in this desert where scant vegetation and water have challenged humans, past and present. A Natural History of the Mojave Desert provides a lively and informed guide to understanding how life has adapted to the hidden riverbeds, huge salt flats, tiny wetlands, and windswept hills that characterize this iconic desert.